[A-List] UK state: Northern Ireland

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Mon Feb 17 12:01:56 MST 2003

(Apologies for slip of the finger when posting a minute ago).

As Kant said, one of the three big questions is: What may I hope? In
the Irish context, my answer is, not much. Philip argues for the
likelihood of a united Ireland on the grounds that US foreign policy
nowadays is to supplant gorillas like Marcos and Papa Doc with
democrats; but all that was a long time ago. I have argued that, given
the home-grown "Orange and Green" tradition, a partitioned Ireland was
always a potential Irish bourgeois solution to the problem. If he had
gone for the office, the retired Northern Prime Minister and Orangeman
Captain (later Lord) O'Neill would have been elected President of the
Republic of Ireland even without the ending of partition. Connolly was
aware of the prevalence of such politics, and it has been adopted by
the US, and legitimised by the twin referenda north and south. Against
my claim that the Unionist tail wags the two dogs of Ireland and
Britain -- and also, I added, the US *in relation to Ireland* --
Philip argued (again by analogy) that this is like saying Israel
governs American Middle East policy, and is wrong. I think the
introduction of this analogy is gratuitous, and that we are left with
assertion and counter assertion, but no evidence against my claim.

Much is made of the decline of the Unionists. The loss of the Unionist
industrial base is significant, but it is always forgotten that Lord
Pirie, the engineering and commercial genius behind Harland & Wolff,
the builders of the Titanic, was a home ruler -- not an Ulster
Unionist. Granted, Trimble and Sir Reg Empey are "white trash" who
came up through the Vanguard Party, political wing of the loyalist
UDA. But then, the so-called patrician Unionist politicians in spite
of their posturing were always closely involved with violence (witness
Lord O'Neill's cousin, Prime Minister James Chichester-Clarke
photographed at the scene, planning the night before with the Chief
Constable of the RUC the loyalist onslaught on the civil rights
marchers at Burntollet). They were, also, always only NCOs compared to
their British superiors. They endlessly flaunted their military rank,
but never got higher than Captain -- whereas Ted Heath and Jim
Callaghan were Colonels, I believe.

Donal offers not evidence for a prediction but earnest of a
commitment, for which I have every sympathy. But as he says "Ulster"
unionism is becoming more extreme every day, and Paisley's lieutenant
Peter Robinson fully expects to be the "First Minister" with the
largest party after the coming May elections. In the worldwide
turbulence of 1968 there was a widespread perception of the Irish
situation as a colonial one: "Ulster is British" was seen as the
equivalent of "Algerie Francaise", the six counties' being part of
Britain was seen as like Algeria's being part of "Metropolitan
France". Connolly gave such an analysis (with a comparison to Poland)
in one of his 1914 writings which I quoted recently. However, Irish
republicans, left and right, have staunchly maintained a one nation
position, with the consequence that a section of the nation has to be
granted a democratic right to vote for membership of the state of
their choice -- the UK. A Greek friend of mine asked me recently to
help him answer his friends' (only recently arising) question: "What's
wrong with them wanting to remain British?" Even many anarchists and
post-Marxist identity theorists would agree that that is a fair
question. That dovetails with the two nations position adopted by Tom
Nairn and the other editors of the New Left Review, according to which
the (progressive because Protestant) Ulster nation had a right to its
national territory, the six counties. The thirty-years-a-brewing
American-inspired conflict-resolution settlement of the "Ulster
conflict" gives Unionists *the union*, and promises nationalists
parity of esteem. (By the way it has not delivered that -- a factor
which may affect the nationalist vote).

So I repeat, the six counties' union with Britain is here to stay:
that is all I am saying. I would be only too delighted to receive any
*hard* factual evidence to the contrary.

Comradely, James.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Keaney" <michael.keaney at mbs.fi>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>; <a-list at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Monday, February 17, 2003 1:17 PM
Subject: [A-List] UK state: Northern Ireland

> James Daly rightly questioned the assertion regarding the British
> intentions over Northern Ireland. Phil Ferguson has already provided
> detailed reasoning on that, although he has been careful to qualify
his view
> that Irish reunification is on the cards.
> See http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/marxism/2001/msg02611.htm
> http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/marxism/2002w46/msg00046.htm
> and others that can be fished out of the archives.
> I think Phil is correct, although a hunch is insufficient as
evidence unless
> you happen to share the same intuitive sense that something is up,
which you
> clearly do not.

More information about the A-List mailing list